iStock_000021093657SmallThe fall is a costly time for CT homeowners. The home must adjust from its summer ease to prepare itself for the stress the fall brings. Home maintenance is essential to the comfort and safety of an individuals family. A key to the warmth of ones home is replacing the summer windows that allowed in the sunshine and warm breeze. Fall is a transitional period between the heat of summer and the bone chilling numbness of winter, so if you want to keep your home in the comfortable state your family loves, replacing your windows will do the trick. Here are several tips for the homeowner in fall window replacement.

Replacement Windows 101

Unlike full frame windows, which are designed for new construction, replacement windows are made to fit into existing window openings. They're available in a wide range of sizes, from as narrow as 11 ' inches to as wide as 68 inches, and come in wood, vinyl, fiberglass, vinyl-clad wood, and aluminum-clad wood.

Start With the Basics

There are three basic types of replacement windows: sash kits; insert replacements, and full-frame units. A sash- replacement kit gives an old window frame new moveable parts, including jamb liners and sash. The liners are fastened to the side jambs of the window opening, then the sash are slipped in between. For these to work, the existing window frame must be level and square. An insert replacement window consists of a fully assembled window in a ready to install secondary frame. Sometimes called a pocket window, an insert replacement slips into the existing opening and is then fastened to the old side jambs. Because you're adding new jambs and liners, the glass area will be slightly smaller than it was before.

 Measuring for Replacements

The most important step in the window-replacement process happens long before installation day. It's when you measure the dimensions of the window frame to make sure you order a replacement unit that's the right size. Start by measuring the inside width of the old window frame, jamb to jamb, in three places: across the top, middle, and bottom of the frame. Write down the smallest of the three measurements. Next, measure the frame's height from the top of the sill to the underside of the head jamb in three places: at the left jamb, in the middle, and at the right (again record the smallest measurement). Check the squareness of the frame by measuring the diagonals from corner to corner. The two dimensions should be the same. If the frame is out of square by ' inch or so, don't worry; the replacement can be shimmed to fit. Anything more may require adjustments to the frame. If the frame is so out of whack that a square replacement wouldn't look right, you'll need a full-time replacement. 

Installation

Working from inside the room, set the bottom of the insert replacement onto the sill, than tip it up into the opening. Press the window tightly against the exterior casings or blind spots. Hold the window in place with one 2-inch screw driven loosely through the upper side jamb and into the framing. The screw should be in just as far enough to allow the window to operate. Close and lock the sash. Adjust the unit by inserting shims under the sill and behind the side jambs until it is centered in the space and opens, closes, and locks smoothly. Measure the window diagonally from corner to corner; the measurements should be the same. When the window is square, screw it in place through the predrilled holes. From the outside, measure the gaps between the window frame and the casing. Fill the gaps less than ' inch wide with elastomeric caulk. Anything wider must first be stuffed with foam-rubber backer rod. On the inside, fill any gaps around the window with minimally expanding foam. Finish up by reinstalling the stops or adding new ones. Then prime and paint, or stain the interior of the window sash and frame.